Tax administrator’s communication and its possible pitfalls

The most frequent and regular way of communication between the tax administrator and taxpayers is in written form, whether electronically through a data mailbox or in paper form by post. However, the tax administrator also tries to communicate through less formal channels, such as e-mails or phone calls. What should you look out for when communicating with the tax administrator?

Formal communication

The rules for delivering documents under the Tax Code state that the tax administrator shall deliver any documents formally with some documents to be delivered to the addressee only. In practice, some decisions or formal notices of the tax administrator are delivered to companies or their representatives among tax advisors or attorneys through a data mailbox. However, “formal delivery” also includes handing the document in an oral meeting to an authorised person acting on behalf of the company with the tax administrator.

Informal communication

Informal communication of the tax administrator with taxpayers is essentially not defined in the Tax Code, despite the fact that the tax administrator uses it quite often. “Informal communication” can be understood to include e-mail, phone calls or SMS. The tax administrator usually chooses this form of communication to expedite tax audits or other processes of tax administration. Additionally, according to a recent judgement, the Supreme Administrative Court finds informal, or “phone communication of the tax administrator with taxpayers appropriate and legal”. However, it is necessary to remember that the tax administrator has to create an official record of such communication and file it into the tax file, or file the e-mail communication. The tax file thus contains a record of the informal communication, the contents of which cannot be influenced by the taxpayer.

In practice, it is also possible to encounter notices, including ones setting a deadline, sent by the tax administrator by e-mail. There have even been notices sent via SMS, where the tax authority asked to provide additional information related to data in the tax return or contact an official by phone. Phone communication can be problematic because the taxpayer usually keeps no record of it. In the case of a missed phone call, the taxpayer often does not even know that the tax administrator has tried to contact them because the callback is not supported or the tax administrator is calling from a hidden number.

Informal communication between the tax administrator and taxpayers can be useful in many cases. However, this method of communication should only be used where appropriate and the taxpayer should make an internal record of this form of communication. In the case of notices and similar requests in which the tax administrator imposes obligations on the taxpayer, especially if it sets a deadline for response, it is perfectly legitimate for the taxpayer to insist on formal communication.

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